Paris is a city like no other. It’s brimming with dainty intricacies embellishing architectural masterpieces, boasting wondrous delights in every corner and shielding beauty in places you’d least expect. It was an absolutely gorgeous autumn day when we decided to visit the Louvre, with its iconic glass pyramid and its incredible foundations which started as a fortress built by Philip II in the 12th Century. When its defensive purpose was lost, the grounds then became home to the French monarchy, housing the finest collections of Roman and Greek sculpture. During the French Revolution, it was decided that the Louvre would onwards become a museum to display some of the very best pieces from the French nation (and of course, from around the world too!).
Awed at the beautiful paintings and interior design of Napoleon III’s apartments, I could not get enough of the allusions to Antiquity, the pagan gods and classical myth. The decadence, detail and sheer scale of everything blew my mind! I loved the rich golds and maroons coalescing in an appetising feast for the eyes. We were also lucky enough, when we went to see The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, not to be totally subdued by crowds – it was an amazing experience to see it so close and first hand – the only downside was that there was a protective barrier and a panel glass that prevented you from making out the details as clearly as you would have liked (but understandably necessary, given how delicate and precious of a treasure this artwork is!). Of course, we did the must-haves of every trip to the Louvre and paid a visit to the sculpture of the Venus de Milo and the impressively-ornate Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David (Josephine is my favourite part of this painting – she looks absolutely resplendent in velvet and her gently flushed cheeks, I assume to present a veil of innocence and purity!). There were so many other pieces that led to me gawking and standing in front of them, to many tourists’ frustration and inconvenience (as they wanted to see too!).
Treasuring the opportunity to see the ancient Greek statue of the Winged Victory of Samonthrace, Han and I were completely taken by the movement in the fabric and how sculpture can create such an impression. One of the great masterpieces of the Hellenistic period, it is no wonder that so many replicas have been made and can be seen throughout the Western World. Fans of Antiquity will know that it is one of the few that survive as an example of Greek sculpture (instead of being simply a Roman replica). It was created to honour a great sea battle, as well as the subject of the piece itself: the Goddess Nike, the goddess of victory (who often accompanies Athena).
We finished our day by taking a stroll through to the Arc d’Triomphe, as commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon to commemorate (surprise, surprise, another victory) the victory at Austerlitz. The scale of the monument is so grand, and it provides a glorious view of the Paris skyline. My only disappointment was that the railings are quite intrusive (although I am rather glad, in a way, since I am afraid of heights and falling!) and so unless you are tall (which I am unfortunately not), it’s a bit difficult to get an unobstructed view. Catching the last peeks of sunlight was a magical experience and Han and I made our way to the Eiffel Tower and watched it go the sky go from a deep blue to a smouldering black. Made for a romantic stroll (with the exception of many vendors trying to sell us selfie sticks and wine every few minutes).
This comfortable LAVISH ALICE playsuit allowed me to wander without a fuss around the Parisian streets, whilst feeling chic enough to do so! Seeing so many stylish people provided no lack of inspirational tidbits. These boots by RUSSELL & BROMLEY were perfect for walking (we tried to avoid the Metro where possible, to see as much as we could!) and kept me warm when the sun went down!
playsuit LAVISH ALICE
boots RUSSELL & BROMLEY
Above: Han is inspired by this sculpture of Spartacus breaking his chains
Above: Winged Victory of Samothrace